HC Deb 14 July 1871 vol 207 cc1788-91

SUPPLY—considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £268,122, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1872, for Public Education under the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland.


, in rising to move this Vote, said, he was anxious to make a very short statement with regard to the intentions of the Government respecting the claims of national teachers in Ireland. The plan of the Government would involve a Supplementary Estimate; but in the Vote now asked for the Committee would be called upon for no opinions upon the subject of the remuneration of the national teachers. Those teachers had urged several grievances—first, the powers of arbitrary dismissal by the managers; next, their want of pensions; and, lastly, the general inadequacy of their pay. With the first two complaints the Government could not now deal. As to the third, the Royal Commissioners on Primary Education had reported in favour of an increase of pay; but they had suggested that the whole of the increase should not be provided by the State. The Government felt that that recommendation was founded in justice; but the question was, in what way other funds should be called on to contribute? The Royal Commissioners recommended a national Education rate. The Government felt it would be quite impossible in that Session to propose an increase of the teachers' salaries, part of which should be provided by a national rate, for such a proposal would meet with general opposition in Parliament. At the same time, the Government felt it would not be just to provide the whole amount out of the Imperial Exchequer if nothing were contributed from local sources. They therefore felt that they could not during the present Session propose a final settlement, but there was great danger in allowing the subject to remain undealt with. They therefore considered in what way some temporary measure of relief could most conveniently be granted. The persons who most required relief were the lower class of teachers, who, in some cases, scarcely received enough to support existence. The average salary of the teachers was about £35; but the males of the first, second, and third divisions of the third class, called probationers, received £24, £18, and £15; and the females received £20, £16, and £14. These sums were supplemented by very small fees and local contributions, which did not average more than £2 or £3. Although the Government were unable to provide a general measure, they submitted for the adoption of the House one suggestion accepted by the Commissioners of Education. That proposal was to make a temporary arrangement to bring up the pay of the third and probationary class to the pay of the second class, less £1; and thus raise the salaries of the males to £27, and those of the females to £23. The addition would involve an increase of £3 to the first division of the third class, of £9 to the second division, and of £12 to the third division in the case of males, and an increase of £3, £7, and £9 in the corresponding classes of female teachers, and it was estimated that a sum of £18,703 would be required to meet the addition. A Supplemental Estimate for that amount would be laid on the Table. The only further observation he had to make was that the Government agreed generally with the Royal Commission in thinking that whatever addition was made to the salaries of the teachers ought not to be indiscriminate, but ought to depend in some respect on payment by results. He trusted that the House would now allow the ordinary Vote to be taken, and the proposed augmentation might be discussed when a Supplemental Estimate was presented to provide for the expense. The noble Lord concluded by moving a Vote to make up the sum of £398,122 required for public education in Ireland.


said, he must point out that this Vote contained an increase of £16,950, and as a further addition of £18,000 was proposed, he thought some Notice should have been given. A Supplementary Estimate would be objectionable, for the desirability of making this grant might have been ascertained before Christmas, and the sum placed upon the Estimates for the year.


explained that before Christmas the Government still hoped to be able to propose a complete measure upon the subject that Session; and it was only when they found that to be impracticable that the necessity for a Supplementary Estimate arose.


said, that the Irish Members with whom he had been in communication felt that if they allowed that opportunity to pass they would have no future chance of discussing the question; and as it was too late at a quarter before 1 o'clock in the morning to debate the matter fairly, he hoped his right hon. Friend would not press the Vote unless he stated that the Supplementary Estimate would be brought on next Monday or Tuesday.


said, he could confirm what had been said by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Wilson-Patten) as to the views of the Irish Members. That education question in Ireland was one in which great interest had been felt, and it was too important to be taken up at that late hour of the evening.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Bentinck.)


said, he hoped the House would proceed, as the proposed increase to school teachers in Ireland was much needed.


said, he objected to Irish educational discussion when Scotch questions of the same nature were shelved. He should support the Motion for reporting Progress.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 44; Noes 68: Majority 24.

Original Question again proposed.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Raikes.)


said, he would suggest that a portion of the Vote should be taken now, and that the general question should be discussed on a future occasion. He would remind the hon. Member for Chester that to refuse Her Majesty's supplies was a weapon generally reserved for great emergencies.


said, in reply to the right Hon. Gentleman, that it was difficult to say what could be discussed on a Supplementary Estimate which was not before him; but, no doubt, if there were a general understanding to that effect, the general question could be discussed on the Supplementary Vote.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 63; Noes 26: Majority 37.

Resolution to be reported.

The Clerk at the Table informed the House, That Mr. Speaker was unable to return to the Chair during the present sitting of the House.

Whereupon, Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday next;

Committee to sit again upon Monday next.